You’re grateful for all the help that parents devote to all things PTO, but what happen when the volunteer doesn’t do their job? And what if the person not doing their job is in charge of something rather important, say managing the finances of your PTO? What do you do then? You can’t fire volunteers can you? Well, can you??? I’m going to dive into how to handle this tough situation so you’ll come out smelling like roses!
In cases where the volunteer just isn’t doing their job, an officer, namely the PTO President should be the one handling the situation. By all means, the answers is not to sit back and let things run their course. No, that’s definitely not the right way to handle the sticky situation. How to deal with this slacker volunteer depends on a few things, including what their volunteer role is and how big it is.
The response to a volunteer not doing their job depends on what their role in the PTO is and how much they’ve deviated from the expectations of their role. If the person is an officer of the PTO and they’ve not been doing their job BUT you don’t suspect any wrong doing, then consult the PTO bylaws and standing rules before anything else. There may be a provision for officer removal. If there isn’t maybe add this option the next time you update the bylaws and standing rules.
But in reality, if you try to approach an officer who’s not living up to expectations armed with the bylaws, that’s not the direction I’d suggest. That approach is likely to not go well at all and the “slacker officer” will have hurt and bitter feelings. Nor is sending an email saying “Thanks, but your help is no longer needed.”
Try this approach instead
Instead, the President should have a private conversation with the officer and see what is going on with her. Perhaps there’s a reasonable explanation for what’s been going on and she needs some help temporarily. Some people are embarrassed to let others know they are struggling and won’t ask for help. Maybe she doesn’t understand the scope of her role.
The President should talk with the officer to see if they need help or if it’s all too much and they need to step down. Give as much care, compassion and empathy as possible. This goes back to the Golden Rule of treating others as you’d want to be treated!
The first time I was PTA President, I faced a situation where the Vice President wasn’t getting the school roster ready and it was already early October. I called her up one evening, and asked if it was a good time to chat. Then we talked about what was going on. Turns out she was inundated with work at school and needed a little more time to get everything done. She didn’t need help, but thanked me for the offer and that was that. She ended up getting the roster done a little later than normal, but it was just a school roster parents use for playdates and birthday party invitations. Nothing earth shattering about it being a little late!
Suspect something sinister, maybe?
However, if you suspect something more sinister is going on, like embezzlement, then all bets are off. You should immediately pull in your Principal and the PTA District Advisor ASAP and get guidance from them on how to proceed. What happens next is a post for another day, but clearly you can fire the thieving volunteer once confirmed!
So now let’s move on to a situation where the under-performing volunteer isn’t an officer on the PTO board. With this case, it depends on whether the volunteer is going to keep coming back to help. If not, then she basically just fired herself. If the volunteer will help with another event or program, then make sure she knows and understands what to do. Sometimes people underperform because that’s not clear or they misunderstand!
This video has even more guidance on this issue! Watch it for even more great advice on how to fire a PTO volunteer!